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Business News/ News / India/  RBI's retail pilot of the digital rupee goes live in 4 metro cities
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RBI's retail pilot of the digital rupee goes live in 4 metro cities

The retail digital rupee project saw participation of four leading lenders, including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank.

RBI has chosen two very different designs for the two variants of the new digital rupee. (iStock)Premium
RBI has chosen two very different designs for the two variants of the new digital rupee. (iStock)

The pilot for retail digital rupee was launched on 1 December, 2022 in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar. 

The retail digital rupee project saw participation of four leading lenders, including State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and IDFC First Bank. 

It will be extended to Ahmedabad, Gangtok, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Lucknow, Patna and Shimla. The scope of the pilot may be expanded gradually to include more banks, users and locations as needed.

What is the Digital Rupee? 

According to the note, the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is RBI's official form of currency. It is known as the Digital Rupee or e-Rupee, is interchangeable one-to-one at par with the fiat currency and is the same as a sovereign currency.

As per the central bank digital currency (CBDC) tracker, almost 105 countries representing 95% of the world GDP have taken steps to inculcate digital currency in their ecosystem.50 countries are at the advanced phase of exploration to launch digital currency, while 10 countries have fully launched digital currency.

Difference between digital currency and UPI

The founder of Shree Consultants Kishore Subramanian clarifies that the difference between digital currency and UPI is that digital currency is like physical currency issued by the central bank and is the RBI's liability whereas UPI is a means of payment. 

Any transaction through UPI is the respective bank's liability.

The e-Rupee would be in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender. It would be issued in the same denominations that paper currency and coins are currently issued. It would be distributed through intermediaries, i.e., banks. Users will be able to transact with eRs-R through a digital wallet offered by the participating banks and stored on mobile phones devices. Transactions can be both Person to Person (P2P) and Person to Merchant (P2M). Payments to merchants can be made using QR codes displayed at merchant locations.

Hemant Jain, vice president of the PHDCCI in his welcome address stated that the Central Bank's digital currency is based on the principles of trust, safety, liquidity, and integrity. He informed that the switch over to digital currency will plug the loopholes and eventually wipe out all the black money in the system. This will also help the CBDC to remove 4,984.80 crore in security printing costs borne by the general public, businesses, banks, and RBI on physical currency.

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Published: 07 Apr 2023, 04:44 PM IST
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